Alma Park Business & Conference Centre, Lutterworth

Alma Park Business & Conference Centre, Lutterworth

Client: Alma Business Park
Type of works: designed and installed a turnkey biomass heating system

Alma Park Business and Conference Centre is situated on the busy A5 trunk road near Lutterworth, Leicestershire. The 2,400 sq. metres of converted redundant farm buildings is divided into 14 office units, a nursery and conference and meeting rooms.

A turnkey biomass heating system was designed and installed by Rural Energy. Low cost energy with a minimal carbon footprint is provided for businesses on the site.

Space heating and hot water is produced in a purpose built energy centre on the fringe of the development. This has been contoured into the landscape to produce an attractive visual effect and to provide easy access for wood fuel deliveries.

An integrated fuel store adjoins the plant room. Design features include a hydraulic hinged roof and a vehicle access ramp.

A 130 kW output Nolting wood chip heating system produces the base heat load for the site and runs at fuel efficiency conversion levels of up to 90%.

Wood chip is demand fed automatically from the fuel store into the combustion chamber of the boiler. The sophisticated control system optimises the use of the biomass boiler to provide up to 90% of the required heat.

A 130 kW oil fired boiler is fired up automatically at times of occasional peak load, needed in the coldest winter days or as a stand-by for the biomass system.

Heat is distributed to all the premises by means of a district heating system of underground pre-insulated pipe. Hot water is then distributed individually within each business unit through hot water radiator and hot water tank systems.

Tenants and leaseholders are charged for the heat on a flat rate charge per square metre.

The owners of Alma Park planted 4 hectares of poplar trees in 2005, on land surrounding the business park. This is now being harvested on a 5-7 year rotational basis to provide wood fuel for the heating system. After coppicing, the poplar trees quickly re-grow, with multiple stems, to provide fuel on a rotational basis.

After cutting, the 5 metre high stems are stacked to dry naturally during the summer months. They are then chipped and transported to the wood fuel store, as required during the following winter.

Alma Business Park is a truly self sufficient and zero carbon producer of heat.

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